Tag Archives: harry potter

Seaborn Wallpaper

Two formats: 1280 x 800 for the typical desktop/laptop display and 768 x 1024 for the iPad and other tablets. Download links here:






Saltwater Witch Comic in ePub

Chapter 1 of Saltwater Witch is now available in ePub format!  Open in it iBooks, Nook, Adobe, Stanza, or any of the ePub readers out there. I will be following up with the rest of the available chapters–1 through 11 with a bit of 12.

 Saltwater Witch Chapter 1   (7.5 MB)


233 pages of Saltwater Witch are back up

With updated pages! I put these back up last night but forgot to tell anyone. I haven't put up the new pages I'm working on–the rest of chapter 12, but you should notice some updates through the first couple chapters.  I'm still a bit embarrassed about a lot of the art and lettering in chapters 2 through 8, and I'm working on new panels for 12, and redrawing existing pages as I get time.

See Saltwater Witch chapters 1 – 11 + the first page of chapter 12 here.

Here's a new page from chapter 2 followed by the old page–I just realized Kassandra is pointing the wrong way in the old page.  The windows should be to her right:



The Real Ollivander

My son Christopher is a mix of legendary sword maker Muramasa and Ollivander–only cooler. And, in Ollivander's case, he would never allow himself to be abducted by a handful of clownish deatheaters. He's been into woodworking and carving for a while, making full length samurai swords out of oak and poplar, Harry Potter wands, and various sharp ninja accoutrements. Really beautiful work. Here's a nice set of examples he's created for the final HP movie, including Dumbledore's wand, Bellatrix's wand (the bent one), and various other wands, using walnut, cherry, birch, and ash. These are all hand carved. Christopher you're so creative–really proud of you.

Click for the view:


Saltwater Witch Chapt4 detail

Detail crop of one of the Saltwater Witch panels I'm working on now.  This is the start of chapter 4, Kassandra waking in the middle of the night, talking to Praxinos–telling him to shut up, actually.  I'm continuing with the all digital mode even above the sea.  Thanks for everyone who gave me feedback on this.  I do like doing the pen and ink panels, but they're not as rich looking, and with digital (CS and my Wacom and pen) it's quicker work.  In chapter 4 especially, these are all nighttime scenes, all the lights inside the hall, and several scenes outside in the dark, and I spent a lot of time sketching and thinking about how I was going ot do that in watercolors and still make it look as dark and rich as I can painting in Photoshop and Painter.

Saltwater Witch Web Comic:


Happy Holidays

A little late getting this post up, but here it is.  Hope everyone's having a happy and/or productive holiday.  We've had a couple good snowfalls in the last week, although it's high 30s today and raining. 

Alice took the kids to see Yes Man with Jim Carrey the night of the 26th, and I spent the time reading Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book–very cool story.  I've also done quite a bit of writing and drawing. 


  • I currently have two short stories submitted, as well as one novel–still no word on any of these.
  • I finished an SF short story, ended up just under 4k words.
  • Since Wednesday, I've put down another 2k words on an all new novel, new world (nothing from the sea), new characters, and all that.


  • I have a few details to work out and I'm done with a piece of art to be published on 09 sometime–more on that when I can tell about it.
  • I've sketched out the next six panels for Saltwater Witch, and I should have them up on Monday.


Hope everyone's doing well and being creative!


Going under

Watercolor on art board.  Michael Henderson from Saltwater Witch and Seaborn falling into deep
water. He’s managed to get out of his sinking car, but his trouble’s
just beginning.

Click the pic for the larger view:


Seaborn Review at Amberkatze’s Book Blog

Cool review over at Amberkatze’s Book Blog:

A new world is born in this fantasy work of art. The sea has alot on offer in this fresh and unique debut book by Chris Howard. With some darkness, alot of depth and some fantastic characters this is a must read for any fantasy fans who like the sea aspect or who just want to try something a little different…

Full review here:

A New Journal

I finished a journal while out at Wiscon, the last four pages in a Moleskine notebook.  Alice and I were out Saturday night and I picked up a new one at Barnes.  It’s interesting to go back and see what I was thinking a year and a half ago when I started the old one–and then what I’ve put into the pages since.

Here’s the new one and the old–all stickered up:


This last one has been with me through several cons:


…and trips around the world, India, Europe (Swiss railway ticket)


…and, of course, writing.  Here are the opening pages of Hammers and Snails.  Most of the journal’s stuffed with Seaborn scenes, character studies, sketches, story ideas, bits and pieces of stories:


Syren Tears

Or, how do mermaids cry and sweat, and what it looks like in the water.  This is the second in a set of posts for those speculative fiction authors out there who have already–or are planning to–dive into a stories with humans/half-humans that live and breathe underwater.  (See the first, How do mermaids hear? on underwater acoustics).

Right off, I’ll say if you’re a mermaid and someone’s trying to sell you the "never let them see you sweat" line, keep your money.

Let’s start with an experiment.  Take a glass of fresh water, a glass of saltwater (mix in a few tablespoons of salt into 4oz/118ml of water), and with a teaspoon, pour the saltwater into the fresh a few drops at a time. What do you see?  The mixing of fluids of differing salinity affect the refraction, the way light comes through the fluid.  Where the two mix, there’s a blurry swirl in the water.

I’ve tried to capture it here in these images.  The one on the left is the glass of freshwater, the right has some saltwater mixing in.  This also works in reverse.  Pour the freshwater water into the saltwater, and you get the same swirls and blurriness.

Salinity1_2 Salinity2

Close-ups of this:


What’s happening here?  It’s all about salinity, or the measure of total dissolved salts in water.  (Salts come in many flavors and compound varieties, but we don’t need to go into that here).

The salinity of human tears, sweat, blood plasma, amniotic fluid are around 9PPT (parts per thousand) and seawater is around 35PPT  (These numbers vary, for example seawater sampled in the north Atlantic is less saline than water sampled from the Red Sea). 

What it comes down to is that even though we have much the same properties as seawater, we are, well, less salty.  When a mermaid cries, her tears take some time to blend into the saltier water around her eyes. She may have trouble seeing through a good fit of sobbing.

The lacrimation system, primarily used for cleaning and lubricating the eyes, includes the gland, reservoir, and canals that manage tear production in most land mammals.  Tears are salty, but they don’t sting because our eyes are already accustomed to the salt content in the fluid that protects them.  This protective fluid for the eyes is actually a set of three different substances that make up the tear film, each layered on top of the other, the outermost lipid layer, aqueous layer, and a mucous layer. (For the different kinds of tears, basal, reflex, and weeping, see the Wikipedia article on this).

No sweat.

There are around 650 sweat glands in an average square inch of your skin, and although the mineral composition of sweat changes with the individual and the source of sweating, the blurring effect of mixing two fluids of differing salinity still applies.  In other words, you would be able to see a mermaid sweat, a thin blurry layer of water over her skin.

All of this assumes that your mermaids, mermen, selkies, nereids, people of the sea, have typical human skin and tear functions.

The concentration of sodium in thermal sweat, M. G. Bulmer and G. D. Forwell